Call for Proposals: Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies (INCS) Conference 2016 11/2/15; 3/10-13/16

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Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies (INCS)
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Theme: Natural and Unnatural Histories
Keynote Speakers: Kate Flint (University of Southern California) and Elaine Freedgood (NYU)

March 10-13, 2016, Renaissance Asheville Hotel, Asheville, NC
Hosted by Appalachian State University

Historicism achieved its full flowering in the nineteenth century, when the historical methods of inquiry envisioned by figures such as Vico, Herder, and von Ranke were taken up and transformed in philosophy, art criticism, hermeneutics, philology, the human sciences, and, of course, history itself. By 1831, John Stuart Mill was already declaring historicism the dominant idea of the age. Taking human activity as their central subject, some nineteenth-century historicisms extended Hegel's distinction between historical processes governed by thought and non-historical processes governed by nature. At the same time, scientists like Lyell and Darwin radically challenged nineteenth-century understandings of history by arguing that nature itself is historical. Powered by fossil fuels, industrialization began to prove this point by profoundly altering global ecologies at a previously unimaginable scale. We seek papers that investigate nineteenth-century histories and natures. How do natures, environments, or ecologies interact with histories at different scales—the local, the national, the transnational, or the planetary? What role does the nineteenth century play in the recent idea of an Anthropocene era? How might nineteenth-century natural histories help us to rethink historicism in the present? What are the risks and promises of presentist approaches to the nineteenth century? Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

Narrating history, narrating nature
Ideas of the natural, the unnatural, and/or the supernatural
Nineteenth-century ecologies broadly construed: domestic ecologies, aesthetic ecologies, imperial and postcolonial ecologies, synthetic or technological ecologies
Evolution and extinction
Posthuman histories
History, nature, and/or science in art
Family histories, social histories
Climate change, geosystems, geohistories
Bioregionalisms, transregionalisms, literature and "sustainability"
Queer ecologies/histories
Disability histories/Cripping nature
Life and non-life
Flora, fauna, and fossils
Ecopoetics, Environmental justice
Reporting events/recording nature
Commemorative musical compositions/performances
Biopolitics, biopoetics
Discourses of pollution, toxicity, garbage, waste
Resource imperialism
Political ecologies and economies
Cross-cultural, indigenous, mestizo, subaltern nature writing
Creaturely life, life forms, nonhumans, monstrosity
Landscape aesthetics
Global South studies
Utopian/dystopian, steampunk, or neo-Victorian natures and/or histories
Nineteenth-century histories of philosophy, religion and/or theology
History of science, history of medicine, public health discourses
Natural disasters, cataclysmic events
Sexological, criminological, and/or psychiatric narratives
Resources, capital, economies
Biography and autobiography, case studies, archives
History as genre: history painting, Bildungsroman, epic, historical novel, historical drama, etc.

Deadline: November 2, 2015. Upload proposals and a one-page CV via For individual papers, send 250-word proposals; for panels, send individual proposals plus a 250-word panel description. Proposals that are interdisciplinary in method or panels that involve multiple disciplines are especially welcome. Questions? Contact Jill Ehnenn at